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AMERICAN GENERATIONS: A HISTORY

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AMERICAN GENERATIONS: A HISTORY

Histories of Futures

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DIMENSIONS OF POLITICS                          DIMENSIONS OF POSTS

Sectors: Identity                                             Importance: ****

Level: National                                               Scope: USA only

Period: Long run                                            Process: Power politics

TOPIC: GENERATIONS                                 Treatment: Background.

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INTRODUCTION

COLONIAL    1

REVOLUTIONARY   2

CIVIL WAR   3

GREAT POWER   4

MILLENNIAL   5

APPENDIX

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SERIES

This is one in a series of Posts sketching HISTORIES OF  FUTURES of American politics. The  series tries to identify processes that have run through most of American political history, continue today, and may well continue into the future.

This Post is the second of two on the successive GENERATIONS of people who have animated American politics over the past four hundred years. The first Post set out a MODEL of such generations in American history (130316). This Post sketches that HISTORY itself.

Later Posts on Histories of Futures will sketch historical tensions within American political IDEOLOGY, note REGIONAL AND LOCAL formations that still influence American politics, and trace the succession of REGIMES in American political development

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SOURCES

These two Posts on Generations summarize the following literature.

William Straus and Neil Howe originated this particular generation scheme in their 1991 Generations: The history of America's future, 1584 to 2069. New York NY: William Morrow / Harper Perennial, 538 pages. They further elaborated the scheme in William Strauss and Neil Howe 1997The fourth turning: An American prophecy. New York NY: Broadway Books, 382 pages.

Morely Winograd and Michaerl D. Hais have applied the Straus&Howe scheme to current American politics in their 2008Millennial makeover: MySpace, YouTube & the future of American politics. New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press, 309 pages. They update the analysis in Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais 2011Millennial momentum: How a new generation is remaking Ameica. New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press, 327 pages.

All of these authors are commercial and political consultants, not academic social scientists.

Some of their analysis may be too schematic. Nevertheless, they have absorbed a huge amount of historical material and presented it in an admirably understandable and usable form.

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AMERICAN  GENERATIONS:  A HISTORY

For their review of American history in terms of generations, William Straus and Neil Howe (1991) posit two schemas, one of about twenty successive GENERATIONS and the other of about ten SOCIAL  UPHEAVALS that particular clusters of those generations have experienced. The Introduction briefly notes the ten Social Uphevals, then provides an overview of the Generations. Then the body of the Post characterizes the successive generational Cycles and the Generations within each. The APPENDIX further characterizes the Social Upheavals.

INTRODUCTION

Straus&Howe posit a scheme of SOCIAL UPHEAVALS in American history, half of them SPIRITUAL AWAKENINGS, half of them SECULAR CRISES. Each eighty-year cycle of four generations faces two major upheavals, the first a Spiritual Awakening and the second a Secular Crisis. This scheme provides a useful overview of some of the major social upheavals that have affected American political development. Of course, the scheme may be TOO schematic. Nevertheless, all of these upheavals DID occur and were politically significant. Appendix One briefly characterizes each upheaval. Here, for reference, we just list them. (The number in parentheses after the name of each era is the page in Straus&Howe 1991 that describes the upheavals.)

PRE-COLONIAL ERA SOCIAL UPHEAVALS (115)

Religious: The Reformation Awakening (1517-1539)

Secular: The Armada Crisis (1580-1588)

COLONIAL  ERA  SOCIAL UPHEAVALS (119)

Religious: The Puritan Awakening (1621-1640)

Secular: The Glorious Revolution Crisis (1675-1692)

REVOLUTIONARY ERA SOCIAL UPHEAVALS (155)

Religious: The Great Awakening (1734-1743)

Secular: American Revolution Crisis (1773-1789)

CIVIL WAR ERA SOCIAL UPHEAVALS (194)

Spiritual: The Transcendental Awakening (1822-1837)

Secular: The Civil War Crisis (1857-1865)

GREAT POWER ERA SOCIAL UPHEAVALS (232)

Spiritual: The Missionary Awakening (1866-1903)

Secular: The Great Depression-World War II Crisis (1932-1945)

MILLENNIAL ERA SOCIAL UPHEAVALS (298)

Spiritual: The Boom Awakening (1967-1980)

[Secular: The War on Terror - Great Recession Crisis (2000s)]

Straus and Howe also posit a scheme of about twenty GENERATIONS in the course of American history. The successive Generations group into five cycles of four generations each (except the cycle interrupted by the Civil War, which had only three generations). Each cycle contains Idealist, Reactive, Civic, and Adaptive generations, in that order. The historical names of the successive cycles, and the particular historical name of each kind of generation within that cycle, are as follows:

CYCLE                         IDEALIST                    REACTIVE CIVIC             ADAPTIVE

COLONIAL                   Puritan Cavalier          Glorious                          Enlightenment

REVOLUTIONARY        Awakening                  Liberty  Republican        Compromise

CIVIL WAR                   Transcend...                Gilded          ------           Progressive

GREAT POWER          Missionary                     Lost              GI             Silent

MILLENNIAL                 Boom                           Thirteenth                       Millennial

This table too provides a concise overview of American history.  It is easier to learn the names of not- quite twenty generations than to learn the names of the myriad individual persons involved! The purpose of what follows is to provide just enough information about each generation to make the name meaningful. For details, readers are referred to the historical section of Straus&Howe 1991 (113-343), which is quite readable and highly informative. Of course, having mastered the overall scheme, one should go on to learn the names of the major historical persons within each.

In the Straus&Howe UPHEAVALS scheme, American history is preceded by two PRE-COLONIAL social upheavals that contributed to the conditions from which America’s earliest European settlers came. These were the religious REFORMATION Awakening (1517-1539) and the secular ARMADA Crisis (1580-1588). (Please see Appendix One or Straus&Howe 1991 page 115.)

COLONIAL CYCLE   2.1

In the Straus&Howe UPHEAVALS scheme, the two social upheavals that the Colonial generations experienced as they were leaving Europe and settling down in America were the religious Puritan Awakening (1621-1640) and the secular Glorious Revolution Crisis (1675-1962) (Again please see Appendix One or Straus&Howe page 119.)

In the Straus&Howe GENERATION scheme, the four generations during the COLONIAL cycle were PURITANS, CAVALIERS, GLORIOUS, and ENLIGHTENERS. These parallel the earliest of the Ethnoregional groups reported in Post 130316. But the generation scheme underlines, not the different parts of England from which settlers came, but the changing historical context from which they emerged (something also noted by the originator of the ethnoregional scheme, David Hackett Fischer). Either way, one needs to be familiar with these early arrivals, because they established many features of American politics that remain basic even in the early 21st century. One basic feature is the overall polarity between Puritan North and Cavalier South.

PURITAN (born 1584-1614, 100% immigrants, 1% slave). The 25,000 Idealist Puritans left England before their side had won the English Civil War. They were called Puritans because they wanted to further “purify” the new English Protestant church – a further Reformation within the Protestant Reformation. The Puritans were “middle class” people from southeastern England (East Anglia), an area strongly influenced by progressive Dutch ideas. The Puritans were the origin of many American political values that the North made mainstream by later winning the Civil War.

CAVALIERS (born 1615-1647, 61%  immigrant, 4% slave). Straus& Howe name the 100,000 Reactive Cavaliers after the aristocrats who left England after they had lost the English Civil War. Cavalier means “horsemen” or “cavalry,”and was used by Parliamentarians to refer to their Royalist enemies during the English Civil War. However, Straus&Howe extend the term to their entire generation, including not only some 60,000 immigrants to the mid-Atlantic region around Chesapeake Bay (most of them NOT the aristocrats but their poor dependents), but also some 40,000 born in New England (individualistic rebels against Puritan communitarianism). This autonomous generation furthered rights of property and liberty.    

GLORIOUS (born 1648-1673, 42% immigrant, 12% slave). Straus&Howe name the 160,000 Civic Glorious generation after the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 in which English Protestant elites invited Protestant Dutch rulers to replace Catholic English rulers, a major act of “civic” construction. This Civic generation of mostly Protestant settlers in American welcomed this development and furthered it in America through their own late 1600s victories over Indians and French and through their strengthening of Puritan collective institutions. They were the first American generation of secular optimists. An example: American merchant in South Asia Elihu Yale helped fund Yale University.

ENLIGHTENERS (born 1674-1700, 34% immigrant, 17% slave). Straus&Howe name the 340,000 Adaptive Enlighteners after the skeptical European Enlightenment. They produced America’s first writers and aesthetes, but they worried that their cultural refinement lacked generational power and vision. They remained caught between the secular civic accomplishments of the next-elder generation and the spiritual moralism of the next-younger generation. America’s first “silent” generation, they produced few noteworthy leaders.

THE REVOLUTIONARY CYCLE     2.2

In the Straus&Howe UPHEAVALS scheme, the two social upheavals that the Revolutionary generations experienced were the religious GREAT AWAKENING (1734-1743) and the secular AMERICAN  REVOLUTION (1773-1789). (Please see Appendix One or Straus&Howe 1991 page 155.)

In the Straus&Howe GENERATION scheme, during the Revolutionary cycle the four generations were AWAKENERS, LIBERTY, REPUBLICANS, and COMPROMISERS. Distinguishing these generations clarifies that different mixes of these generations led the pre-revolutionary negotiations with Britain, the fighting of the 1776 American Revolution, and the drafting of the 1787 Constitution. The  “Founders” were not all alike!  

AWAKENERS (born 1701-1723, 19% immigrant, 18% slave). Straus&Howe name the 550,000 Idealist Awakenersafter the first “Great Awakening,” a mass religion-of-the-heart movement in the 1730s-1740s. Later they arrived at a vision of America as “destined by providence to play a millennial role in the salvation of the world” promoting ideals of equality, principle, virtue, and grace (156-157). Propagated by famous moral prophets and absorbed by Awakener leaders like SAMUEL ADAMS and BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, these ideals later contributed to the American Revolution.    

LIBERTY (born 1724-1741, 24% immigrant, 19% slave). Straus&Howe name the 1.1 million Reactive Liberty generation after the ideals of the generation that fought the last imperial (French and Indian) war learned to prize. Distrustful of authority, these first “Yankees” went on to lead the American Revolution and explore the American frontier. Exemplars are presidents GEORGE WASHINGTON and JOHN ADAMS, patriot Patrick Henry and frontiersman Daniel Boone.  

REPUBLICAN (born 1742-1766, 17% immigrant, 17% slave). Straus&Howe name the 2.1 million Civic Republican generation after the Republic (our ELITE REPUBLIC) that they Founded. Members who were older at the Founding had participated when younger in the American Revolution (including Thomas Jefferson who, at age 33 had drafter the Declaration of Independence). Members who were younger at the Founding included the precocious ALEXANDER HAMILTON. In the end, the leading figure of this generation was THOMAS JEFFERSON who in 1801 became the first “anti-government” American president but enormously expanded the USA’s territory.

COMPROMISERS (born 1767-1791, 10% immigrant, 15% slave). Straus&Howe name the 4.2 million Adaptive generation Compromisers after the successive compromises necessary between 1820 and 1850 to keep the Union together as it converted western territories into states. Exemplars are “the Great Compromiser” Henry Clay and his Senate colleagues John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster. Another exemplar was the first populist president, Democrat ANDREW JACKSON, who also strove to “split the difference” between North and South regions, Whig and Democratic parties, and adjacent generations. In the process, he helped found our second American political regime of MASS DEMOCRACY.

THE CIVIL WAR CYCLE     2.3

In the Straus&Howe UPHEAVALS scheme, the two social upheavals that the Civil War generations experienced were the spiritual TRANSCENDENTAL Awakening (1822-1837) and the secular CIVIL WAR (1857-1865). (Please see Appendix One or Straus&Howe 1991 page 194.)

In the Straus&Howe GENERATION scheme, the Civil War cycle had only three generations: TRANSCENDENTALS, GILDED, and PROGRESSIVES. As noted above, according to Straus&Howe, in this cycle the Civil War tragedy prevented the emergence of a true Civic generation. Instead, the older Transcendentals provided inspiration and, at mid-life, the younger Gilded generation reoriented itself to perform Civic functions.   

TRANSCENDENTALS (born 1792-1821, 20% immigrant, 13% slave). Straus&Howe name the 11 million Idealist Transcendentals after the 1830s and 1840s “romantic” intellectual movement in the Northeast USA that protested what they considered the excessive intellectualism of the times, which they believed corrupted the inherent goodness of people and nature. Straus &Howe extend the label to the entire generation. Acting on their own “inner truth,” they embraced moral causes such as abolitionism, helping to precipitate the Civil War. For its part, the South produced its own Idealists, who led that side. Major literary figures included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Major political leaders included Northern president ABRAHAM  LINCOLN and southern general Robert E. Lee.

GILDED (born 1822-1842, 28% immigrant, 10% slave). Straus&Howe name the 17 million Reactive Gilded generation after the “Gilded Age” of increasing wealth and inequality that accompanied accelerating industrialization after the American Civil War (1865-1895). (Many scholars think that the USA is now in a “Second Gilded Age”  – See the last chapter of Valelly 2013 American Politics.) Mark Twain named the age and typified the generation in his characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn: pragmatic kids on their own, trying to make sense of a dangerous  world , while being condemned by their moralistic elders. These attitudes flowered into philosophical pragmatism (Pierce, James), into industrial accomplishment (Carnegie, Rockefeller), and low-key political leadership of both parties (Presidents Grant, Hayes, Arthur, Garfield, Harrison, and Cleveland).

PROGRESSIVE (born 1843-1859, 27% immigrant, 9% slave). Straus&Howe name the 22 million Adaptive Progressive generation after the elite reformers who became disillusioned with “corrupt” nineteenth century “machine” party politics and attempted to replace it with twentieth century executive leadership and professional “good government.” Their most prominent exemplars were Republican president THEODORE ROOSEVELT and Democratic president WOODROW WILSON. The Progressives pioneered many forms of government activism that the New Deal later institutionalized.

THE GREAT POWER CYCLE     2.4

In the Straus&Howe UPHEAVALS scheme, the two social upheavals that the Great Power generations experienced were the spiritual MISSIONARY Awakening (1866-1903) and the secular GREAT DEPRESSION-WORLD WAR II Crisis (1932-1945). (Please see Appendix One or Straus&Howe 1991 page 232.)

In the Straus&Howe GENERATION scheme, the Great Power generations – all of whom played a role in the USA’s rise to “great power” status in the world – were MISSIONARIES, LOST, GIs, and SILENT. The Missionaries gave a tilt of idealism to the USA’s rise to power, personified in president Franklin Roosevelt. The Lost generation did the operative work of running World War II. The GI generation served as soldiers, then inherited the victory, and ran the USA for most of the rest of the twentieth century. They overawed and displaced the Silent generation, which never acceded to national leadership, but played important supporting roles during the USA’s era of hegemony. 

MISSIONARY (born 1860-1882, 23% immigrant, 1% slave). Straus&Howe name the 45 million Idealist Missionary generation after the overseas religious missionaries (many to China) produced in the late 1800s by a surge of youthful idealism reacting against the materialism of the industrializing Gilded Age. Its most colorful manifestation in politics was the dramatic agrarian oratory of the thrice unsuccessful Democratic candidate for president, William Jennings Bryan. But Missionary presidents included Harding, Coolidge, Hoover and, most important, FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT.

LOST (born 1883-1900, 21% immigrant). Following the terminology of some famous writers at the time (particularly Ernest Hemingway), Straus&Howe apply the name  Lost to the disillusioned 45 million Reactive generation that came of age suffering the First World War. Their lives were broken up by two world wars and a depression, leaving them wary and canny. Among them were future presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. (Also Mao Zedong!)

GI or GREATEST (born 1901-1924, 9% immigrant). Straus&Howe name the 63 million Civic GI generationafter the nickname (Government Issue) for those who served in the military during the Second World War. Also called (by themselves) “the Greatest Generation,” they survived Depression and surmounted war to help Found not only  a new domestic order (the New Deal) but also a new international order (under postwar American leadership.) GI generation presidents included John Kennedy, LYNDON JOHNSON, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, RONALD REAGAN, and George H. W. Bush. Johnson was particularly important for further consolidating the liberal New Deal as the Great Society, Reagan for beginning conservative attempts to dismantle that liberal regime.

SILENT (born 1925-1942, 9% immigrant). In 1951 Time magazine named the oncoming 49 million Adaptive generation Silent for its lack of assertiveness. This is the generation that sociologists Riesman and Glazer labeled “The Lonely Crowd,” taking cues from others. A 1955 novel described the search for meaning in a world dominated by business of The man in the gray flannel suit.  Nevertheless, the generation produced many colorful cultural figures (including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Bob Dylan). It produced important aides to presidents (including DICK CHENEY). It produced three First Ladies (Jackie Kennedy, Rosalynn Carter and Barbara Bush). It produced promising political leaders like Bobby Kennedy and a great one in Martin Luther King. But no presidents! Only the failed presidential candidacies of Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Jack Kemp, Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson.

THE MILLENNIAL CYCLE    2.5

In the Straus&Howe UPHEAVALS scheme, the two social upheavals that the Millennial generations experienced were the spiritual BOOM Awakening (1967-1980) and – my addition – the secular crisis of the WAR ON TERROR and GREAT RECESSION (2000s). (On the Boom only, please see Appendix One or Straus&Howe 1991 page 298.)

In the Straus&Howe GENERATION scheme, the Millennial cycle includes BOOMER, THIRTEENTH, and MILLENNIAL generations.

BOOMERS (born 1943-1960, 10% immigrant). Straus&Howe name the 79 million most recent Idealist generation the Boom generation to reflect not only that they are the Baby Boomers from high birth rates after World War II but also the beneficiaries of the economic Boom from high postwar growth rates. (Born 1943-1960.) In “the Sixties,” they famously challenged conservative political values and traditional cultural values. They produced important industrialists (Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Apple’s Steven Jobs) and famous media figures (such as Oprah Winfrey). They produced Idealist political leaders as contrasting as Al Gore and Newt Gingrich, presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In terms of sheer demography, Boomers could still hold pluralities in Congress as late as 2015, presidencies as late as 2020, and a majority in the Supreme Court as late as 2030.

THIRTEENTH (born 1961-1981, 11% immigrant). Straus&Howe name the 93 million Reactive generation in the Millennial cycle the Thirteenth to reflect their so-far anonymity: Counting from the Awakeners, the Thirteenth generation to call themselves citizens of the USA (Born 1961-1981). Children of Boomers and The Sixties, at each stage of their lives, Thirteens have had to make do with whatever the Boomers had not already done. Adults have seen them as “lost” and disconcerting, prone to “brassy sights, causitc sounds, and cool manner.” (317) Reacting against idealistic and neglectful parents, the generation distrusts adults and regards itself as realistic in understanding “the game of life as it really gets played.” (320). Justifiably pessimistic about their own prospects, they entered adulthood just as the USA began possible decline: problematic economic growth and growing economic inequality. What all this could mean politically remains to be seen: The Thirteenth generation is likely to achieve pluralities in Congress only in 2015-2035, any presidencies only in 2020-204, and a majority of the Supreme Court only in 2030-2050. 

MILLENNIAL (born 1982-2003, 12% immigrant). The 76 million Idealist Millennial generationis the currently up-and-coming Idealist one, named for the fact that they began to come-of-age at the turn of the millennium. So far about all we know about their political proclivities is that they enthusiastically supported Barach Obama in two presidential elections and led the Occupy Wall Street movement protesting economic inequality. Millennials might achieve a plurality in congress in 2035-2060, some presidencies in 2040-2065, and a majority on the Supreme Court in 2050-2075.

NEXT? The next generation, born since 2000, as yet has neither a name nor definable characteristics. However, according to the scheme, they should be Adaptive and come into their heyday at about mid-century.

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APPENDIX:  SOCIAL  UPHEAVALS  IN  AMERICAN  HISTORY

The following annotated list provides a concise overview of the some of the major historical upheavals (what Straus&Howe call  “social moments”) that have affected American political development. The page number after the name of each generational era indicates where each pair of upheavals is described in Straus&Howe 1991.)

PRE-COLONIAL  ERA  SOCIAL  UPHEAVALS (115)

Religious: The Reformation Awakening (1517-1539).  Ending the European Middle Ages, some churchmen  “reformed” old, ritual-oriented Catholicism through new, text-oriented Protestantism. The schism set off violent religious wars across Europe (particularly 1618-1648) and created the intensely communitarian and individualist political culture that impelled early English settlement of the American Northeast.

Secular: Naval Armada (1580-1588).  The naval climax of a long struggle between Catholic Spain and Protestant England, allied with the Protestant Netherlands. England’s victory established it as a growing naval and colonial power and unleashed a tide of Elizabethan optimism. That led, in the next generation, to the religious disaffection that further impelled early English settlement of the American Northeast. 

COLONIAL  ERA  SOCIAL UPHEAVALS (119)

Religious: The Puritan Awakening (1621-1640).In Europe, at the beginning of the 1600s, a resurgence of radical Protestantism triggered the Thirty Years War on the Continent and spilled over to England. Royal refusal of radical demands for reform impelled a substantial emigration of Puritans during the 1630s. In Old England, the English Civil Wars broke out between Royalists (sometimes Catholics) and Protestant republicans. In New England, “immigration stopped, families settled, and moral orthodoxy stiffened.” (119) (Generational composition: Puritans in rising adulthood, Cavaliers in youth.)

Secular: The Glorious Revolution Crisis (1675-1692)

In colonial America, the late 1600s produced growing fears of “social unrest, tyrannical governors, and annihilation by Indians.” A deadly war (King Philip’s) between English settlers and musket-armed Algonquin Indians created the historical prototype of violent conflict between allegedly civilized settlers and allegedly savage Native Americans. Virginia experienced a brief civil war (Bacon’s Rebellion). The stakes rose still further in 1688 when the settlers learned of the attempt by Protestant Dutch rulers to replace England’s Catholic rulers. Before learning that England’s “Glorious Revolution” had succeeded, settlers in several colonies launched rebellions of their own. In the midst of this political turmoil, the New England colonies repelled a determined French invasion from Canada. Eventually news of the successful accession of Dutch William and Mary to the English throne ended the crisis and “the colonies began celebrating their membership in an affluent and constitutional empire.” (Generational composition: Puritans in elderhood, Cavaliers in midlife, Glorious in rising adulthood, Enlighteners in youth.)   

REVOLUTIONARY  ERA  SOCIAL  UPHEAVALS (155)

Religious: The Great Awakening (1734-1743)A fervid spiritual revival in the northern and middle colonies that set an unprecedented tone of collective spirituality and public principle for this generation as it approached the American Revolution. A precursor of more such “Awakenings” in the early and late 1800s. (Generational composition: Glorious in elderhood, Enlighteners in midlife, Awakeners in rising adulthood, Liberty in Youth.)

Secular: American Revolution (1773-1789)Despite the happy ending, an anxious time for those who participated, since the British and Indian allies might well have defeated the Rebels and hanged them. (Generational composition: Awakeners in elderhood, Liberty in midlife, Republicans in rising adulthood, Compromisers in youth.)

CIVIL  WAR  ERA  SOCIAL UPHEAVALS (194)

Spiritual: The Transcendental Awakening (1822-1837)The Second Great Awakening was another evangelical upsurge of radical idealism that paralleled the rise of Jacksonian democracy. It spawned heterodox new religious sects, the movement to abolish slavery, organization of labor, campaigns for women’s rights and finally, the Transcendental movement in philosophy and the arts. Its idealism later helped precipitate the Civil War. (Generational composition: Republicans in elderhood, Compromisers in midlife, Transcendentals in rising adulthood, Gilded in youth.)

Secular: The Civil War Crisis (1857-1865)Unlike the resolution of most other crises in American history, Northern victory in the Civil War produced a sense less of optimism than of tragedy. The older Gilded generation ensconced itself in political power for most of the rest of the 1800s. The younger Progressive generation – “traumatized, not energized” – avoided self-expression (for the time being at least). (Generational composition: Compromisers in elderhood, Transcendetals in midlife, Gilded in rising adulthood, Progressives in youth.)

GREAT  POWER  ERA  SOCIAL  UPHEAVALS (232)

Spiritual: The Missionary Awakening (1866-1903)By the 1890s, the Third Great Awakening involved student protests, agrarian protests, urban labor unrest, Christian socialism, the anti-alcohol “temperance” movements, and women’s demand for the vote. Progressive elites finally found their voice to demand Reform of economy and politics. However, after the financial panic of 1907, the mass mood sobered. (Generational composition: Gilded in elderhood, Progressives in midlife, Missionaries in rising adulthood, Lost in youth.)

Secular: The Great Depression-World War II Crisis (1932-1945)This American crisis began in a mood of unprecedented despair and ended in a mood of unprecedented triumph. Victory carried the GI generation to confident accomplishment for decades to come. (Missionaries in elderhood, Lost in midlife, GIs in rising adulthood, Silent in youth.)

MILLENNIAL  ERA  SOCIAL  UPHEAVALS (298)

Spiritual: The Boom Awakening (1967-1980)  Sometimes referred to as America’s Fourth Awakening, this upsurge of idealist “consciousness” began in the mid-1960s in the civil rights movement, opposition to the Vietnam War, inner-city riots, summers of Love, and counter-“cultural euphoria.” In the 1970s it continued as a New Age transformation of “manners, families, lifestyles, values, and – contradictorily – resurgent evangelism. In the 1980s, the now-mature Boomers integrated into more conventional social roles under the Reagan Revolution. 

(Generational composition: GIs in elderhood, Silent in midlife, Boomers in rising adulthood, 13ers in youth.)

Secular: War on Terror and Great Recession (2001-2011)*This recent crisis significantly discredited the Old Regime of optimistic Boomer dominance and paved the way for transition to new generations of leadership. These crises also further sharpened the polarization between the operatively relatively liberal mainstream of American politics and the militantly conservative radical wing of the Republican party. (Silent in elderhood, Boomers in midlife, 13ers in rising adulthood, Millennials in youth.)

*Written around 1990, Straus&Howe 1991 lists only one “social moment” for the Millennial Cycle. Twenty years later, I have tentatively added the War on Terror - Great Recession as the main secular crisis to face the Millennial cycle.

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DIMENSIONS OF POSTS

Importance of Post: ***** Big development. **** Small development. *** Continuing trend.

Scope of  Post:  USA only. USA-PRC. USA-other.

Type of Process:  Elite power struggle. Elite policy politics. Mass participation.

Type of Treatment:  Current commentary. Comprehensive background. Academic analysis.

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Policy  Sectors:  Security. Economy. Identity

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